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US and EU swine experts exchange on best practice

Dr. Bill Hollis knows a thing or two about pigs. 

As Senior Partner at Carthage Veterinary Service (CVS), Illinois, USA, he and his team oversee 27 farms representing approximately 118,000 sows.

CVS is a practice divided into two parts: the first is a swine-specific practice where the primary role is to support the health and production of its clients’ pig farms, from hire of labor to pig delivery. The other part revolves around traditional swine consulting and health management, including farm oversight, diagnostics, and health/performance strategies. 

So when we at Novus were looking for a US veterinarian to exchange experiences and insights with some European customers for our recent Swine Knowledge Trip, we knew he’d bring home the bacon. 

Bill says that collaborating on best practice between US and European production systems had real value. 

“Their interest is quite strong in production and how we manage pigs here for our clients. What we shared with them was some of the production strategies that we use to implement health programs for the farm, some of the production tools that we use on the farm and specifically how our business is structured, to give them an understanding of how we’ve come together to support the producers here in the Mid-West.”

Bill and his team also explained how the veterinary service works very closely with Novus in a bid to maximize sow performance.

“We emphasized where the veterinarian’s role is in health and production oversight, and then specifically where our companies have worked together. So Novus has worked very closely with our Carthage group as we research sow nutrition and specifically some sow performance trials on very specific ingredients for sow diets. 

“Novus brought to us the products they wanted to evaluate and we implemented a number of sow feeding strategies that included some of those products, such as MINTREX. 

“Those trials were quite successful and we’ve continued that ongoing relationship as we evaluate products and as we introduce sow nutrition and evaluate specific sow nutrition requirements. We also followed through with the performance of the pigs and the successful strategies for both intake for a sow in farrowing, as well as gestation intake and gestation diets for sows in the breeding barn.”

Bill Hollis
How Carthage has worked with Novus to implement strategies and studies to improve sow performance and health

Stefano Merlini, from Italian feedmill company Famavit, who attended the trip, said the exchange had been very beneficial.

“I learnt a lot about the way Americans do very similar work to what we do in Italy. It was a really good experience to learn more about what they’re doing and what we can do with MINTREX

“Everything about Italian and US production is different, because of different targets of weight and how to feed the pigs. In some ways they aren’t comparable but we can learn a lot from this exchange, for example about biosecurity – where America is really good and perhaps we are not as strong. It has been a good opportunity to transfer experiences.”

Stefan Büngener-Schröder from German company GS Agri, commented the visit at CVS:

“The most interesting thing for me was at the sow farm where the piglets are produced, and the open conversation with the farm manager. To see actual production using MINTREX minerals in the sow diet. To see that the feet and legs of the sows are very healthy, and that the general health status of the animals is very good. For me, that was the most interesting part.”

Participants' feedback on the trip